In October 2016, a densely populated funeral in Yemen was struck, leaving at least 155 dead and 525 wounded, including the senior military and security officials of the Shia Houthi and loyalists of former president Ali Abdullah Saleh. The attack was reportedly carried out by Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia accepts the finding of the Joint Incidents Assessment Team, a setup of coalition states to investigate complaints against coalitions' conduct in Decisive Storm, that coalition's bombardment at a funeral ceremony in Sanaʽa, in which over 140 people were killed and more than 600 injured, was based on wrong information. Reportedly, the United States is reviewing its policy of support for the Saudi-led coalition. US Secretary of State John Kerry sought assurances from Saudi Arabia that incidents such as the airstrike on a civilian funeral in Sanaʽa will not happen again. He proposed a cease-fire and a return to talks aiming for a political resolution of the conflict. Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman said he hoped to institute a 72-hour cease-fire as soon as possible, provided the Houthis will agree.
Since the Saudi-led coalition began military operations against Ansar Allah on 26 March 2015, Saudi-led coalition airstrikes unlawfully struck hospitals and other facilities run by aid organizations, according to Human Rights Watch. Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) medical facilities in Yemen were attacked four times in three months. On 26 October 2015, HRW documented six Saudi-led airstrikes which bombed a MSF hospital in Haydan district (Sa'dah Governorate), wounding two patients. A Saudi-led coalition airstrike then hit a MSF mobile clinic on 2 December 2015, in Al Houban district (Taizz). Eight people were wounded, including two MSF staff members, and one other civilian nearby was killed. On 10 January 2016, six people were killed and seven wounded when a hospital in Sa'ada was hit by a projectile. MSF said it could not confirm whether the hospital was hit in an air strike by warplanes of the Saudi-led coalition, or by a rocket fired from the ground, and at least one other landed nearby. On 21 January 2016, an MSF ambulance was hit by an airstrike. Seven people were killed and dozens were wounded.More Info
The United Nations alleged that the Saudi-led coalition had committed a war crime because the bombing was a 'double tap' attack. This is when the first bombing is followed by a second one soon after, which aims to attack the wounded, aid workers and medical personnel tending to them. The UN report said: "The second air strike, which occurred three to eight minutes after the first air strike, almost certainly resulted in more casualties to the already wounded and the first responders." Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir said that his government was being careful to abide by humanitarian law.More Info
On 30 June HRW released a report stating that coalition airstrikes on the northern Yemeni city of Saada, a Houthi rebel stronghold, had killed dozens of civilians and wrecked homes and markets. The group said it had documented a dozen airstrikes on Saada that destroyed or damaged civilian homes, five markets, a school and a petrol station although there was no evidence of military use. "Saada City's streets are littered with bomb craters, destroyed buildings, and other evidence of coalition airstrikes," HRW's Sarah Leah Whitson said in the report and later added. "These attacks appear to be serious laws-of-war violations that need to be properly investigated."More Info
Save the Children's Country Director in Yemen, Edward Santiago, said that the "indiscriminate attacks after the dropping of leaflets urging civilians to leave Sa'ada raises concerns about the possible pattern being established in breach of International Humanitarian Law. Warning civilians does not exonerate the coalition from their obligation to protect civilians and civilian infrastructure, and we have seen in the last days that the warnings have not been enough to spare civilian lives. At the same time, people are largely unable to flee for safety because of the de facto blockade imposed by the coalition leading to severe fuel shortages."More Info
NATO powers such as the United Kingdom and the United States support the Saudi Arabian-led intervention in Yemen primarily through arms sales and technical assistance. France had also made recent military sales to Saudi Arabia. MSF emergency coordinator Karline Kleijer called the US, France and the UK part of the Saudi-led coalition, which imposed the weapons embargo and blocked all ships from entering Yemen with supplies. Rights groups have criticized the countries for supplying arms, and accuse the coalition of using cluster munitions, which are banned in most countries. Oxfam pointed out that Germany, Iran, and Russia have also reportedly sold arms to the conflicting forces. Tariq Riebl, head of programmes in Yemen for Oxfam, said, "it's difficult to argue that a weapon sold to Saudi Arabia would not in some way be used in Yemen," or "if it's not used in Yemen it enables the country to use other weapons in Yemen." Amnesty International urged the US and the UK to stop supplying arms to Saudi Arabia and to the Saudi-led coalition. On August 3, 2019, a United Nations report said the US, UK and France may be complicit in committing war crimes in Yemen by selling weapons and providing support to the Saudi-led coalition which is using the deliberate starvation of civilians as a tactic of warfare. Arms sale by United Kingdom to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates in 2019 reportedly soared by £1bn, i.e. 300%, in comparison to the figures in 2018. Andrew Smith of the Campaign Against Arms Trade condemned the increase and criticized the UK arms industry of being dominated by human rights abusers and dictatorships. UK-made fighter jets have been accused of causing catastrophic damage in Yemen. According to a May 28, 2020 article by The New York Times, the Trump administration in January 2020 told lawmakers that it was planning to sell a cache of munitions to Saudi Arabia, despite the kingdom’s human rights record. Reportedly, the sale of the said $478 million, precision-guided missiles used in Yemen war to Saudi, and approval of licenses permitting Raytheon to expand manufacturing in Riyadh are objected by lawmakers in both, Democrats and Republican parties.More Info
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